Ranking the licensed survivors in ‘Dead by Daylight’
Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer asymmetrical survival horror game that came out in 2016. The premise of the game is that four players, called survivors, are thrown into a map and their objective is to escape, either by repairing five generators or by unlocking the hatch. The catch is that one killer has been placed in your trial and will try to stop you from escaping in order to sacrifice you to the entity in the sky or to straight-up kill you. What makes the game truly enticing is the inclusion of licensed characters, something Dead by Daylight is famous for.
The game has included icons of horror in its killer lineups like Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Leatherface. But its use of licensed characters is not just limited to its killers ⏤ Dead by Daylight has 10 licensed survivors who are almost always paired up with licensed killers. Of course, it’s much easier to make the killers look great in the game as most of them are wearing masks and costumes. The real trick is to make the survivors match their on-screen or video game counterparts, but that’s not always the case.
Thus, we have ranked the 10 licensed survivors based on how accurate they look, how their perks counter their in-game depiction, and how fun they are to play.
10. Quentin Smith
Debuting as a licensed survivor alongside Freddy Krueger, Quentin Smith was released as a part of the A Nightmare of Elm Street chapter of Dead by Daylight. Unfortunately, this character sits at the bottom of this list for two main reasons. For one thing, the character isn’t a large part of the franchise he came from, only appearing in one A Nightmare on Elm Street film. For another, upon release, and until only recently, not only did the character not resemble his film counterpart, but his in-game depiction was horrifying, to say the least.
Apart from his hard-to-forget persona, there’s also nothing game-changing about the perks he comes with. Wake Up is probably his most useful perk, allowing him to see the exit gates and open them faster. His aura is also projected to those around him when he opens the gates, so it acts as a sort of beacon to show other survivors the way to the door. His other perks are pretty basic: one allows for quicker status recovery and the other allows you to pull a med-kit from a chest. They’re not the most useful in the game and that certainly adds to why Quentin is stuck at number 10.
9. Jill Valentine
One of the Resident Evil survivors, Jill Valentine was released alongside Leon Kennedy and the Nemesis killer. Jill Valentine, unfortunately, got the short end of the stick with the Resident Evil release. There’s no denying that the chapter was actually one of the smoother launches ⏤ Nemesis was a memorable killer, the zombies were fun, Leon, (and Chris by extension) was a good survivor, and while the Raccoon City Police Department map was huge and largely disliked by players, it looks absolutely phenomenal. You cannot say the same thing about Jill, though, or even Claire, her alternate character costume. While Claire looks like she didn’t catch a wink of sleep for a week straight, Jill’s initially fine look was changed so many times that she is now stuck looking weird and out of place.
Jill’s perks are decent enough, which is why she isn’t sitting at dead last. Her perk Blast Mine comes with the ability to stun a killer who tries to damage a generator, which gives the survivor enough time to make a complete getaway. Resurgence can also be great in a pinch, allowing one to gain up to 50% of their healing progress once unhooked. But her last perk is totem-based and doesn’t give you much of an edge, as all it is giving you is cleansing speed.
8. Laurie Strode
The final girl of Halloween, Laurie Strode made her debut in the game alongside The Shape, also known as the killer Michael Myers. Laurie should not be this far down on the list, as one of her perks is absolutely amazing and her outfit matches her on-screen character perfectly. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the way she looks. In-game Laurie does not look like any of her film counterparts, and that is severely unfortunate because nearly everything else about the character, chapter, and perks she has is absolutely amazing.
Her epic perk is Decisive Strike, which is an anti-tunneling perk. If the killer picks you up after someone has unhooked you, you get one shot at a skill check. If it ends up being successful, you get the chance to stun the killer and leap off of them ⏤ a rather handy perk indeed!
On the other hand, Object of Obsession is a weird perk. It pretty much guarantees that the killer is obsessed with you and whenever the killer sees your aura, you see theirs. Unfortunately, while granting you a speed buff, it also shows the killer your aura every 30 seconds. Sole Survivor makes it so that when fellow survivors die and are close to the killer, they don’t see your aura. But it isn’t really worth the risk to use either perk, so Laurie unfortunately comes in at number eight.
7. Detective David Tapp
Detective Tapp was released as a part of the Saw chapter of Dead by Daylight, alongside the Pig killer. The good detective, played by Danny Glover in the films, was not in many of the Saw sequels. While he bears a passing resemblance to his on-screen version, it still isn’t close enough to recognize him as Danny Glover. But that’s not the reason why Tapp falls low on this list ⏤ it has more to do with his perks.
Tapp’s perk set is almost entirely below par. Tenacity can come in handy, as it helps in getting some distance from the killer while healing yourself. But that would only be useful in pretty rare situations and might be good if you play with friends. Detective’s Hunch, which shows you auras of generators, totems, and chests when a generator is completed, wouldn’t really be useful unless a killer was running a totem perk.
The last perk, Stake Out, gets you progression bonuses on generators if you have been in the killer’s terror radius for fifteen seconds ⏤ long enough to hit a good skill check. They aren’t the best perks in the game, which is why Tapp comes in at number seven.
6. Cheryl Mason
Joining the game with the executioner killer, Pyramid Head, Cheryl Mason from the Silent Hill franchise comes in at number six. She is definitely one of the better-looking survivors on this list, coming incredibly close to her video game counterparts. Even her alternate character costumes, of which there are a few (she has the most in the game), look really good and that’s one of the reasons why she’s high up on the list.
Unfortunately, her perks are where she falls short, otherwise she’d be even higher. Her best perk is also rather bizarre. Repressed Alliance seemingly works for the killer, as after you’ve spent a while working on a generator you can call the entity to block it for 30 seconds. Not only can all survivors see the aura of the gen when you do it, but it also stops the killer from damaging it and the perk can actually be pretty useful. Weirdly enough, it also stops anyone from working on it.
Soul Guard does a few things. If you’re cursed, you can fully recover from the dying state or instead get a deep wound in exchange for certain death. It’s not a great perk but can certainly come in handy. Her next perk is the Blood Pact, which lets you see the obsession’s aura and after healing them or they heal you, your speed increases. Unfortunately, when you become the obsession, it deactivates, meaning that this perk has a limited shelf life.
5. Leon Scott Kennedy
The better of the two survivors from Resident Evil, Leon Kennedy appears on this list for two reasons. Firstly, the creators did a great job with this character model, especially with all the different and somewhat disturbing versions of Jill they threw into the game. Secondly, one of his perks, aptly named Flashbang, allows you to throw a flashbang, which can be a real game-changer. If the killers weren’t annoyed by flashlights enough, this allows you to produce the same effect but in a far more localized manner. If timed correctly you can even get the killer to drop a survivor they’re carrying, but be careful, as it’s harder than it looks.
His other perks are decent as well. Bite the Bullet doesn’t alert the killer to failed skill checks on generators and applies a lesser regeneration penalty than normal. Healing noises are also suppressed with the perk. Leon’s last perk, Rookie Spirit, activates once you complete 3-5 skill checks, which are either good or great. Once activated, whenever a generator regresses you see its aura for the rest of the trial.
4. Nancy Wheeler
Rest In Peace, Nancy Wheeler. As of Nov. 2021, you can no longer purchase the Stranger Things heroine from the game, but that doesn’t stop her from coming in at number four. If you bought her before November, you can still play as her, so don’t be surprised when you come across any Stranger Things character in-game. She is absolutely one of the best-looking licensed survivors, and her outfit sets are varied and mostly screen accurate. Her perk set is pretty neat, like her move, Fixated, which can get you out of tricky situations fairly quickly. With this perk, you can walk a little faster and see your own scratch marks which, if played correctly, will let you hide from the killer easier.
Inner Strength is another one of her perks and it can be very convenient if you don’t have a med-kit or can’t find any survivors to heal you. This move activates after you cleanse a totem, after which you can jump into a locker and heal yourself. It takes around 10 seconds but is so worth it. Her last perk, Better Together, lets other survivors see the aura of the generator you are working on, even from a distance of 32 meters. What’s even better is that if a killer downs another survivor while you’re repairing, you see the auras of the other survivors. While nothing about her perk set is exceptionally powerful, if played correctly, they all prove to be instrumental in the game.
3. Steve Harrington
Here’s another fallen member of the survivor crew. You can no longer purchase Steve Harrington in Dead by Daylight, as he was removed in Nov. 2021 as well. Like Nancy, he is also incredibly screen accurate. But his costumes are far superior, Scoops Ahoy Steve being one of the most popular costumes in the game, not to mention his alternate costume as Jonathan Byers. But his perks aren’t exactly impressive, which is why he falls shy of being number one.
Most of his set favors helping others rather than himself, so he is better played when with friends. Babysitter sets the killer’s attention on you after an unhook, taking away the unhooked survivor’s scratch marks and pools of blood for a brief period of time. It also allows the killer to see your aura as well, acting as a great distraction if you can get away in time. Camaraderie is probably the most self-serving of Steve’s perks, but you still need a survivor in your proximity to activate it. Once they are near you while you are on the hook in the struggling phase, your struggle period pauses for around half a minute.
His last perk, Second Wind, is more of a give-and-take move, as it only activates after you fully heal a survivor. Once the perk activates, you are automatically healed in the next 20 seconds. But it does have a downside: the next time you’re unhooked, you will suffer from the Broke Status Effect and cannot be healed. You can deactivate it by being put in the dying state or successfully using it to heal yourself, but the better option would be to try and not get unhooked once you activate it.
2. Ash J. Williams
Ash J. Williams, the groovy guy from Evil Dead (specifically taken from Ash vs. Evil Dead) might be the best character on this list for one reason: because he has voice lines. It’s pretty awesome when you’re sitting in the loading screen waiting for the characters to load in and you hear, “Look who’s sitting in the tall grass.” That’s not even mentioning that the character model is fantastic, which is extra impressive since it’s based on an actor. But the same thing cannot be said about his perks.
Flip-Flop might come in as his best perk. It allows any progression of your dying state recovery to be converted into wiggling progression when the killer picks you up. If you manage to get away from a hook, this perk could turn the tide. Buckle Up is a team-based aura perk, as it lets you know how much a dying survivor has managed to heal themselves by the intensity of their aura which is shown to you from up to 48 meters away. If you heal someone in the dying state, you and the fallen survivor get to see the killer’s aura for around 10 seconds.
Mettle of Man is a complicated perk and the reason Ash missed being at the top spot. It makes you the killer’s obsession, and the perk only activates after your third protection hit, which might be unlikely to happen in a trial depending on how you play. Getting your third protection hit gives you endurance and blocks any hit that would put you from being injured into the dying state. But then when you are healed, your aura is revealed to the killer whenever you’re more than 15 meters away. It barely helps you in-game and makes it a little easier for the killer to find you.
1. William “Bill” Overbeck
The only survivor to come over from Left 4 Dead, Bill is one of the best survivors in the game. Bill looks exactly like his counterpart from Left 4 Dead, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken the top spot on this list. This could be credited to the fact that Bill comes from another video game, just like Cheryl and Leon. But the real reason that Bill edges out to be number one is because his perks are phenomenal.
Borrowed Time is a great perk for helping out other survivors. It gives a survivor you unhook protection, so if they get hit by the killer right off the hook, they get a deep wound instead of going into a dying state. Unbreakable is also a fantastic perk, as it allows you to improve recovery speed and recover fully from the dying state once per trial. His last perk is Left Behind, which allows you to see the aura of the hatch when it is close if you are the only one left in the trial. This is why Bill beats out all the rest on this list ⏤ his perks are amazing, he looks like the original video game character, and on top of all that, he’s been a part of the game longer than the others on this list.
There you have it, the rankings of the 10 licensed killers in Dead by Daylight. Hopefully, more licensed survivors will be added to the game in the future and they’ll continue to amp up the ones they’ve already released.